Shed antler hunting has increased in popularity during the past decade, but little is known about how this recreational activity affects ungulate movements and space use. We placed geographic positioning system (gps)-collars on 133 bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis), bison (Bison bison), and mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) to quantify their movements, space use, and resource selection during shed antler hunts on Antelope Island Utah, USA, from 2012 to 2015. In Chapter 1, we calculated means and 95% confidence intervals for distance moved during 90-minute segments (16 points/day); pre-event (control, seven consecutive days prior to event), event (one to two days), and post-event (seven consecutive days after event) for shed hunts and helicopter surveys. We also compared each species use of space during these events. Female bighorn sheep did not increase distance moved or substantially change space use during shed hunts and helicopter surveys. Male bighorn sheep increased distance moved 41% on average during shed hunts and by 2.02 times during helicopter surveys but did not change space use during those events. Female bison increased distance moved 15% on average during shed hunts and 30% during helicopter surveys. Mule deer increased distance moved and altered space use the most during shed hunts; females increased distance moved 97%, and 54% of females moved a mean distance of 742 ± 642 (SD) m outside of their home ranges during those hunts for a mean of 9.2 ± 9.4 hours (range = 1.5 to 41 hr). Male mule deer increased distance moved by 2.10 times on average during shed hunts, and 82% of males moved a mean distance of 1,264 ± 732 m outside of their home ranges during those hunts for a mean of 12.6 ± 7.6 hours. In Chapter 2, we analysed 177,138 gps locations to quantify space use and movements of 12 mule deer and 25 bighorn sheep in response to shed hunting. Twenty-five percent of mule deer and 44% of bighorn sheep responded differently to shed antler hunting across two years. We tracked four mule deer for three and four consecutive years, and all those deer responded to shed hunting differently across subsequent years. Mule deer increased movement (paired t-test = -3.9, p < 0.001) during shed hunts compared to pre-event movement. Bighorn sheep increased movement (paired t-test = -6.9, p < 0.001) during shed hunts compared to pre-event movement. In Chapter 3, we placed gps-collars on 27 mule deer and 29 bighorn sheep to quantify habitat selection during shed hunts compared with resources selection seven days prior and seven days following these hunts. Mule deer (n = 6) remained in the same area (response 1), moved to another area within their home range (n = 7; response 2), or moved beyond their home range boundaries (n = 14; response 3). Bighorn sheep (n = 17) remained in the same area (response 1), moved to another area within their home range (n = 11; response 2), or moved beyond their home range boundaries (n = 1; response 3). Shifts in resource selection by mule deer and bighorn sheep were detected during shed hunts regardless of the initial response of the individual animal during those hunts.
College and Department
Life Sciences; Plant and Wildlife Sciences
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Bates, Steven B., "The Effects of Shed Antler Hunting on Ungulate Movement, Space-Use and Resource Selection" (2021). Theses and Dissertations. 9530.
habitat, movements, resource selection, shed antler hunting, space use, ungulate